Monday, June 3, 2013

Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Grilled Italian Sausage

Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Grilled Italian Sausage
(for two)

This pasta dish boasts a fresh, bright flavor: a combination of naturally caramelized lemons, beautifully charred vegetables, nutty Parmesan cheese and juicy Italian sausage. 

- 2 Italian Sausage Links
- 8oz of uncooked Penne pasta
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 ½ lemons
- 15-17 slender stalks asparagus (about ½ a bunch)
-  2 sprigs fresh rosemary (about 1 tablespoon chopped needles)
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 3 medium garlic cloves (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (if not using fresh you may want to use less)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
- Olive oil for the pan
- ¾ cup pasta water

Heat some salted water in a large pot (for cooking the pasta).

Grill the Italian Sausage or cook in skillet until firm and browned on the outside. *Tip: You may want to loosely wrap the links in foil to preserve their warmth until the rest of the meal is finished.

Chop off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks (take off about an inch and a half). Then chop the stalks into about 2 inch segments.

Slice the first lemon into pieces about ¼ of an inch thick. You should be able to get at least 6 good sized slices out of the lemon.

Gently remove as many seeds as possible, using the tip of your knife.


Heat some oil in a large pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat (medium-low if using cast iron). Add the cherry tomatoes and cook, turning occasionally with tongs.

When the sides of the tomatoes are charred and they begin to burst open, remove them from the pan, place them in a bowl and set aside.

 Add the asparagus to the hot pan, sprinkle with salt and cook (1-2 minutes) until the sides are charred but the pieces still retain their bright green color.

Remove from the pan and add to the bowl holding the tomatoes.

Pour the pasta into the boiling water and cook according to package directions (be careful not to overcook- al dente is best).

Place the lemon slices into the pan and cook until browned and caramelized in appearance. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Pour the white wine into the pan (about 2-3 times around the perimeter).


Add the rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, fennel seed, salt, ground black pepper, juice of the ½ lemon, and minced garlic cloves to the pan. Allow the wine to reduce by about half.

Add a ¾ cup of the water used to cook the pasta. Simmer until the liquid has reduced again by half.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan along with the asparagus and tomatoes. Stir, to evenly coat the pasta with the sauce.

Add the shredded Parmesan and stir until well incorporated. Salt to taste. When the pasta has absorbed most of the liquid, it is ready to serve.

Slice the sausages in half lengthwise. 

Make a bed of pasta on each plate, top with the lemon slices and the sausage. To finish, grate a small amount of parmesan over each plate and serve!

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